Kraków (also spelled Cracow), the former capital of Poland, is located 180 miles south of the present capital of Warsaw. It is one of Poland's largest (pop. 780,000), most historic and most beautiful cities.
In addition to its rich medieval history centering around Polish royalty, Krakow was home to two famous 20th-century personages: Oskar Schindler of Schlinder's List fame and the future Pope John Paul II, who lived here for 40 years as a priest and later as Archbishop of Krakow.
One of few Polish cities to escape major devastation by the Nazis during World War II, today's Krakow is renowned for its beauty by Poles (it is the most popular domestic tourist destination) and foreigners alike. It has become an essential stop on the main Central European tourism axis that includes Vienna, Budapest, and Prague. UNESCO designated the city a World Heritage Site in 1978 for its many historic buildings, which include numerous old churches full of religious art and no less than seven historic synagogues.